1882 Texas Newspaper masthead font

zvowell's picture

This is the masthead for a paper in Fort Worth, TX in 1882.

Not having much experience identifying types, I looked around on the web, & the closest I could find was Cloister Black (though looking at Cloister Black in detail now, it seems there's way too many differences between it and this masthead type for the latter to be a mere modification of the former).

Any help would be much appreciated.


Jan's picture

Most mastheads are custom designed. Might be the case with this one as well.

zvowell's picture

ah, that makes sense, thanks for the info.

Is there a less specific way to describe a (possibly)custom type like this? As in: "This masthead uses a font from the Old English family"? I mean, is that a legitimate way to talk about types/fonts, or am I just making this up from google searches?

aluminum's picture

That would be called 'blackletter'

Stephen Coles's picture

You might like Avebury.

zvowell's picture

thanks everyone-- here's what I ended up writing. If it makes you cringe to read it, feel free to post your feeling here.

"The paper employed a distinguished, uncluttered masthead which displayed Fort Worth Daily Gazette in a customized font informed by elements of Blackletter fonts such as Amador, Cloister Black and Monotype Old English."

Lex Kominek's picture

P.S. This is a nameplate, not a masthead.

- Lex

eliason's picture

This strikes me as odd and potentially misleading phrasing. Will your reader understand that your example blackletter types postdate the nameplate, and thus could not themselves have "informed" the design of it?

And, using the word "customized font" implies that a whole alphabet of individual type sorts was made for the newspaper, when (as I understand it) if it was indeed a custom nameplate, it would have been a single piece and thus not properly called a "font" (and probably not properly called "type").

Florian Hardwig's picture

According to the DIN scheme, blackletter typefaces can be classified into 5 categories. This would be a ‘Gotisch’. One can add that it is ‘handtooled’.

zvowell's picture

Lex: hmmm... Merriam-Webster seems to indicate that masthead is an appropriate usage here.

eliason: I appreciate the critique. yeah, I considered the post-dated nature of blackletter types, and on second thought I think I'll ditch the "informed" bit. you bring up an interesting point about these letters not constituting a font, but if they're not of a "font" or of a "type", then what are they? (sorry if I'm asking questions an intro text on graphic design would just as easily answer).

Florian & everyone else: how about: "The paper's nameplate employs handtooled Gothic typefaces in an otherwise distinguished, uncluttered front-page banner."

Justin_Ch's picture

you bring up an interesting point about these letters not constituting a font, but if they’re not of a “font” or of a “type”, then what are they?

Lettering. Carefully drawn, built-up letters, as opposed to calligraphy in which the strokes of the letter are usually a single width of the pen or brush being held at a particular angle.

I think your final sentence is fine, but maybe mention that it was the look almost universal to newspapers then rather than something particularly unique to this one.

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